“Students Turn Teacher, Provide Reading Assistance,” Ensign, Apr. 1974, 26
Can children teach each other how to read?
Research being conducted in Provo, Utah, city schools in cooperation with Brigham Young University indicates that the answer may be a very emphatic “yes.”
For the past five summers, fifth and sixth graders have been used as tutors for first and second graders with reading difficulties.
“I just act like them, and teach them,” was the way one young tutor explained her success.
Before being assigned a younger child to work with, the new tutors are given training, where they are taught proven tutoring techniques, according to Dr. Grant V. Harrison, director of special reading clinics for the Provo District.
When they complete their training, each tutor is assigned a student, and they work together for one-half hour daily for several weeks under the supervision of Brigham Young University students.
Using the younger tutors seems to be an effective way to provide tutoring with very little tension between the helper and the younger student. “We have found it a very effective way to give very personal attention to the reading habits of beginning readers,” Dr. Harrison said.
Teachers of the beginning readers report a considerable improvement in reading skill following a summer of concentrated work with the tutors.
Dr. Harrison is working on techniques to utilize the tutors with students who have difficulty with mathematics and expressive writing. Eventually he hopes to expand the program and use tutors to assist in teaching a second language.